I joined the Green Party as, like many people, I wanted to see things done differently. I don’t like seeing politicians showing a lack of respect for others, especially voters, and how MPs speak to each other. I especially don’t like how they mislead the public for the sake of more votes, work for their wealthy backers rather than for ordinary people, and dodge questions from voters (who put them where they are in the first place). People feel like they have no voice. This is exactly the opposite of how a democracy should be working.
Old politics gave us the financial crash. It took one of the most efficient health systems in the world and put it on the brink of collapse. It delivered ever-rising house prices that mean people growing up here can only dream of buying a home in Solihull and the numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets of our country continues to grow.
But there can and should be a new and different way of doing politics. A politics that’s led by evidence and what’s proven to work, and is sensible, fair and sustainable. A politics that works with people and listens to them. A politics that’s more about public service and less about lining politicians’ back pockets. A politics that can deliver what people want: decent public services; affordable homes and jobs that help them to build a life, not just survive.
Above all I want to stand up for the NHS. My sister is a doctor and I know well that for decades the NHS has been the most effective and efficient health service in the world. But constant cuts have brought it to its knees. This winter, two women died waiting to be seen at a hospital in Worcestershire. They had been lying on trolleys for 35 hours. Their story is not unique: cuts to the NHS are exhausting and demoralising staff and mistakes are becoming more common. Getting an appointment with a GP in Solihull is becoming harder and harder. A Green government will stand up for our NHS, our patients, and our doctors as they help all of us from cradle to grave.
The Green Party will reverse the decline in funding for the NHS, plug the deficit hole that’s been created, and plant the seeds for a new and flourishing public health service. We won’t expect people to reach into their pockets to pay for health treatments, and will make sure that all services are delivered by public services, not the private companies that are making treatment more and more costly. And we will make good on the Conservatives’ failed commitment to give mental health the same standing as physical health by ensuring that the two are given equal priority and investment.
We have a housing shortage nationally, but we can only use valuable greenbelt once. In the West Midlands we need to build 12,000 houses a year. But we’ve built about 4,000 houses a year since 1981. That’s why we have a housing crisis that makes Solihull the least affordable place to live in the West Midlands. A Green government will tackle the monopoly of the big developers, by injecting £8 billion to build 100,000 homes per year, bringing brownfield sites back into use and ending the housing crisis.
I want to stand up for all the children who don’t get a fair start in life. In the West Midlands, and parts of Solihull, 1 in 3 children are growing up in poverty. Shockingly, most children in poverty live in working households. A Green government will make sure we create and protect jobs that people can build decent lives on, and that we help the least well-off in our society.
Our schools are facing cuts under the Conservative’s ‘fairer funding formula’. My brother is a teacher, so I see very well how hard they work and the challenge that our schools face. Solihull schools will be £11million worse off by 2020 if the Conservative’s push this disastrous policy through. Education gives back skills and knowledge to the economy and society, which is why I’m standing up for it and our country’s future.
I’m standing for a bolder, brighter, bigger future. A future where we protect our NHS, where Solihull’s young people can afford a home, and where everyone can get ahead in life. I’m standing for a new way of doing politics. Please stand with me and vote Green Party on June 8.